Brett VandenHeuvel ’05

Executive Director, Columbia Riverkeeper

Working with amazing colleagues at Columbia Riverkeeper, my vision is a Columbia River that supports abundant life. A river people can enjoy without the risk of toxic exposure. I want a river where poor people don’t ingest the brunt of the toxic pollution. A river where people can eat fish caught in North Portland, Longview, or Richland without increased cancer risk. I want the list of 187 contaminated sites reduced to zero. I want my kids to have the joy of teaching their kids how to catch Columbia River salmon and climb on Mount Hood’s glaciers. Neither is certain. I want oil, coal, and gas corporate executives to never again mutter the name “Columbia River” after their stunning and systematic project defeats. Getting “Columbia’d” will become the boardroom euphemism for underestimating the passion a region has to protect what it loves. I want the Pacific Northwest to lead by example as innovators whose economy is based on clean water, renewable energy, and healthy communities.

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